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Peanut is helping me draft patterns

Ok, well not really. But I am hard at work at making this pattern. Hopefully I’ll have it up by tomorrow. It’s going to be a little mini dress and the pattern is so simple you can easily alter it to make it into something entirely different.

Just drawing up the pattern and doing all the math for the different sizes takes hours. And then there’s instructions, graphics, and little bits of text, dots, and notches all over the place. I’m getting faster at this but even just working on this four piece pattern has already spent two of my afternoons. There’s got to be a quicker way of doing this.

Comments (5) for post “Peanut is helping me draft patterns”

  • I can’t imagine making my own pattern. I have a difficult enough time following them! Peanut is super cute. I bet that makes pattern making a little more pleasant.

  • Hi Dixie,

    I just found your blog via BurdaStyle. Love it so far! I have a question for you: what sewing pattern drafting books do you recommend? I want to make my own patterns and I need some guidance!

    And another question: what software do you use when making your patterns?

    Thanks for your time!

  • Rebekah, I started out with Wendy Mullin’s books.

    She gives you three patterns and you learn ways of altering them.

    From learning how to alter regular patterns I made my own go-to pattern blocks (this was before I knew what they were called) and altered those when needed.

    This book has a nice simple section on making your own pattern blocks and then it shows you many projects to make by altering your basic pieces:

    This book talks about altering patterns but also continues on into more drafting from scratch ideas based on what you know from altering other patterns. Pattern making is basically variations on a theme. You have a few basic structures that you change according to the look you want.

    I use Adobe Illustrator and a lot of math for making my patterns. I take the dimensions of the paper patterns that I made by hand to fit me and transfer them to the computer and scale the one pattern for other sizes.

    If you only need to make a pattern for one size I know some people trace their patterns onto sheets of paper as a big grid and scan each individual pattern onto the computer and make it into a PDF.

  • Hi again Dixie,

    Thank you so much for the recommendations. There are so many books of this type available and I have no clue on which one to buy, so you helped immensely.

    One last question about drafting… How did you learn how to grade sewing patterns?


  • Illustrator has a feature called scaling. When I make my original pattern I figure out the final measurements and measurements for key points on each pattern piece. Then I decide what measurements for the other pattern sizes will be and do the math to figure out what percentage increase or decrease of each piece I need in order to achieve my final measurements. The difference between each size is only about 4 or 5%. I might still have to make adjustments. Like I’ll only scale a piece horizontally rather than vertically. It depends on what the final out come needs to be.

    I basically worked backwards to make my measurements fit what I needed them to be. I’m sure there’s a better way of doing it. It can be a lot of math and you have to take seam allowances into consideration – you only want to scale the garment itself not the seam allowances (those are the same for all pattern sizes).

    Good luck with pattern making!

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